The King is dead. Long live the King!
SO IT’S OFFICIAL; after 30 years, the CBR600 sportsbike is all but dead. Already fatally weakened by the collapse in supersport 600 sales, it’ll finally be killed off by the Euro4 environmental legislation that came in this year. It’s just not worth Honda’s investment to produce a bike that complies with the new rules, so once the negotiated grace period for selling older models expires, that’s that. But are we downhearted? Well, maybe a bit - for those of us who started riding in the 1980s, the CBR’S progression from original jelly-mould to 21st-century, stripped-down race replica more or less mirrors our own physical development. And by mirrors, I mean it shows it in reverse... And that’s part of the problem of course - as average rider age creeps up, fewer people want to (or can, for that matter) fold their creaky joints onto a titchy supersport 600.
But a good, sporty 600 still has a lot going for it and the CBR600RR is very good indeed. It was good enough to take the World Supersport championship in 2007, 2009 and 2010. More surprisingly, the mildly updated version repeated the feat in 2014. In the same period, Honda took the manufacturer’s title six times. So the CBR-RR clearly has the racetrack pedigree but it’s also a great road bike - light, nimble, reliable and as happy threading through traffic as howling round a trackday.